If you could own any weapon for self defense, a powerful bludgeoning weapon good enough for even the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse, choose the Kamagong (an ironwood species) fighting stick over even bladed weapons. Carrying a bladed weapon on your person is a crime in the Philippines. But a kamagong stick will save you in a brawl against muggers and other criminals if you know how to use it for self defense purposes. It is extremely dense and hard enough to fend off attackers and maim them so you can escape with your life.
The Stick as a Primary FMA Weapon
The knife is supposed to be the backbone of the Filipino martial arts (FMA), while the stick is the most popular weapon making arnis-escrima or stick fighting the more known fighting system. Among the many systems of FMA, the stick is used differently. In some schools, it is a mere training tool to teach the movements of the blade. But In some FMA styles the stick is taught as a primary weapon. Escrima expert and trainer, Dan Inosanto, wrote in his book, “The Filipino Martial Arts,” harm inflicted by a stick is different from that of a blade. “The old Filipinos who made stick fighting an art preferred to hit the bone and preferred a stick to a blade. Instead of a clean cut, the stick left a shattered bone." Dan explains.
What to look for when buying Kamagong fighting sticks
First check the weight and feel of the sticks. Check if the wood grain is consistent. Not all Kamagong is black. There are hardwood fighting sticks that are half black or half white. Philippine Ebony is darker and closer to the core and therefore rarer. There is also Tigre. This is still good wood but whiter and the Philippine Ebony tends to be rather heavier and therefore denser. Kamagong fight sticks are available rounded or flat. Flat
fighting sticks are called “garote.” Sticks are cut according to the
weight to length ratio. An inch of reach is sometimes given up for
better speed, accuracy and power. Kamagong lengths vary from 31 inches
to 26 inches. They are great for practicing your form and developing a
Should you buy Kamagong eskrima sticks for everyday training?
Using kamagong fighting sticks for impact training against say a tire tower to practice sinawali ( a weaving pattern of the fight stick while hitting targets at the same time ) or getting your speed up to 300 strikes per minute using one hand might be some of the best martial arts practice you can choose to hone craft. Impact practice against any other tough surface might damage your sticks, like an unpadded tree trunk. Wax your sticks to avoid dry rot and keep them waterproof to some extent.
For practice training against human opponents, kamagong sticks make for lethal damage and may cripple your opponent by accident so rattan sticks are the preferred practice weapon in the same way that kendo martial arts training use bamboo sword over actual metal practice swords. You train for technique first with non-lethal equipment so that when you use your kamagong in a life or death situation for self-defense, your technique AND your weapon will save your life. Not to mention, crush the skulls of any zombie army you face, or some robber stupid enough to dare. Get your own sticks now.